Arched parts of England are facing a hosepipe ban amid extremely dry conditions and ahead of another predicted heatwave.
Southern Water announced the move for customers in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight from Friday, while South East Water customers in Kent and Sussex will see the move in exactly one week.
Months of little rain, combined with record-breaking temperatures in July, have left rivers at abnormal levels, depleted reservoirs and parched soils.
All this has put pressure on the environment, agriculture and water supplies, and is fueling wildfires.
The Met Office has warned that “very little meaningful rain” is on the horizon for drier parts of England as temperatures climb into the 30s next week.
While this could mean another heat wave – when temperatures are above average for three days or more – it is likely that conditions will be well below the 40C seen in some places last month.
The situation has called for measures to reduce water consumption to protect the environment and supplies, and to “massively” restore the country’s lost wetlands to deal with a future of more dry summers and droughts. .
Southern Water said it was asking customers to “limit their use to reduce the risk of further restrictions and disruptions to water supplies, but more importantly to protect our local rivers.” “.
South East Water said it had no choice but to ban the use of hosepipes and sprinklers in Kent and Sussex from midnight on August 12 “until further notice”.
The firm added that it is taking this step to “ensure that we have enough water for essential uses and to protect the environment” and to make possible water reductions “as we have already Needs to be sourced from pressurized local water sources”.
Other water firms have so far refrained from imposing restrictions despite low water levels, although some say they may need to implement restrictions if the dry season continues.
Households not yet affected by the restrictions are being asked to avoid using hosepipes to water the garden or clean the car.
Thames Water’s desalination plant in Becton, east London, which was built to provide 100 million liters of water per day in dry weather conditions, is currently out of service.
Parts of England have seen the driest July since November 2021, the driest eight months for the country since 1976, on record dating back to 1836.
The Meteorological Department said that there are indications of further change in weather conditions from mid-August.
Nature campaigners have criticized water companies for leaving it until the “last possible moment” to introduce restrictions, when rivers are in a “desperate” state, and for last-minute announcements that ban hosepipes. Increases demand for water before arrival.
Mark Lloyd, chief executive of The Rivers Trust, said: “Every year we reach this tipping point and at the last possible moment, when the rivers are at their lowest level, we have discussions about banning temporary use.
“Announcing it at the last minute causes people to wash their cars and fill their paddling pools, wash their dogs, and increase demand before the ban comes.
“This must be done before the rivers deteriorate and there is not enough water for wildlife.”
The Rivers Trust provides rapid metering, rapid leakage reduction, support for households to reduce water use, such as installation of low-flow toilets and water cisterns, and rain gardens, wetlands and local water reservoirs. is demanding water drainage including sustainable drainage for the construction of inside the ground.